Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has shelved plans to sell controlling stake in its mobile tower arm Bharti Infratel but has decided to monetise 21.63% equity in the company. "The Board has at its meeting held on March 14, 2017 ...decided not to monetise a controlling stake in Infratel for now," Bharti Airtel said in a regulatory statement. The company has decided to sell or transfer 400 million shares to its wholly-owned subsidiary or to any potential investor.
"Instead, the Board has decided that the company undertake a sale/transfer of upto 400 million Infratel equity shares owned by company which is over and above a controlling stake in Infratel, in such tranche(s), at such time(s) and for such consideration as may be deemed fit to its wholly-owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments Limited and/or to any other potential investor(s)," the statement added.
Bharti Airtel on October 25, 2016 had authorised a Committee of Directors to evaluate options for monetisation of a significant stake in Bharti Infratel. Post transfer or sale of 400 million shares, Bharti Airtel will directly have 50.33 percent stake, Nettle or the potential investor 21.63 percent and other shareholder will have 28.04 percent stake in Bharti Infratel.
The consolidated tower base of Bharti Infratel, including its share in Indus Towers, stood at 90,255 towers at the end of 2016. While Bharti Airtel posted around 50 percent decline in its net profit for the third quarter ended December 31, 2016, its mobile tower arm registered 25 percent increase in consolidated net profit at Rs 620 crore for the same quarter.
It had posted a net profit of Rs 495 crore in the same period of last fiscal, 2015-16. The consolidated revenue of Bharti Infratel increased by 10 percent to Rs 3,400 crore during the October-December quarter of 2016-17, as against Rs 3,105.5 crore posted in the same period of 2015-16.